What is Blue Oat Grass?

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

Spiky and large, Blue Oat Grass can provide a dramatic depth and texture to a garden. These plants are characterized by their powder blue to steely gray colors and dome-like shapes. The ornamental grasses, which feature long, tapered leaves, can grow up to 2 feet (60 centimeters) in height.

Moist, fertile soil works best with blue oat grass.
Moist, fertile soil works best with blue oat grass.

During the late spring to summer months, Blue Oat Grass features tan panicles. The grass can grow year-round in mild climates. Blue Oat Grass grows best at high altitudes, making it an optimal plant for mountain-dwelling gardeners. The grasses create an eye-catching display and work well as accent plants. Many growers pair the grasses with vibrant red or yellow flowers, such as dahlias or canna lilies.

Blue Oat Grass grows best in full sunlight. The garden plants should be watered well, receiving weekly water during most of the year. During dry seasons, the grass requires more frequent watering. If not watered well in dry areas, plants can age quickly, turning brown and even dying. In moderate climates, however, the plants can grow well during drought, even in poor soil.

Rock, desert, and other dry gardens can foster Blue Oat Grass well. These types of gardens often provide the drainage the plant requires for optimal growth. These grasses also make attractive displays around watery garden elements, such as small pools or ponds. Birds are also attracted to this grass, sometimes using it as a base for nest building.

When planting Blue Oat Grass, gardeners should space plants at least 12 to 15 inches (30 to 38 centimeters) apart. Moist, fertile soil works best with the grass. Soil used to propagate these plants should be well-drained. This grass can become invasive if not fully controlled. Some growers plant their grass in pots to prevent it from spreading across their property.

Unlike some other ornamental grasses, Blue Oat Grass typically maintains its round shape. Rather than branching out in awkward angles, the plants usually stay neat, and require little to no pruning. If well-watered, the grass can be a very low-maintenance plant overall.

All types of grasses in this family are evergreen. Several different varieties of the ornamental grasses are available. Sapphire Fountain Blue Oat Grass is steel-colored, with spiky and clumpy leaves. Though native to Europe and Asia, these ornamental grasses can be grown in most continents of the world. In their native habitat, they can typically be found thriving in meadow lands and dry, hilly areas.

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Sara has a Master’s Degree in English, which she puts to use writing for wiseGEEK and several magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She has published her own novella, and has other literary projects currently in progress. Sara’s varied interests have also led her to teach children in Spain, tutor college students, run CPR and first aid classes, and organize student retreats.

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